Hippity hoppity hobos

By Susan Aiello • Published: May 3rd, 2011
Category: Animal Airwaves

You probably don’t pick up hitchhikers, but that is exactly how two Cuban frogs moved into Florida and the southern United States.

Scientists believe that thousands of years ago, the greenhouse frog and the Cuban tree frog hitched a ride to the Florida Keys and other Caribbean islands. They couldn’t swim the distance in deadly salt water, so the first frogs likely stowed away on floating vegetation.

The Keys provided the visitors with an inviting home, and over time, the two species adapted to life in more temperate climates. As transportation and commerce boomed in the mid twentieth century, these hopping hitchers moved north.

Today, the Cuban tree frog is found throughout coastal areas of southern Florida, and the greenhouse frog has established colonies as far north as Alabama. Not bad for a couple of hippity hoppity hobos.